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Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by FramerDave, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I kinda wanna do it just to see who is full of #### and who isn't. :party: :)
  2. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It's not a "game." The new "rules" allow for a framer that has been in business a long time, but for what ever reason hasn't taken the CPF, to take the CPF and the MCPF without a "long wait" in between.
  3. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Wow, Cliff that is good news for some of those folks who have that level of experience. I know of at least one framer who will be delighted.

    That news had not found its way to me.

    However, it would take somebody pretty special to manage to do it without the years of experience.
  4. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    A few customers ask about the framed certificates on the gallery wall, but I doubt any of them know about the credentials before they get here, and I'm not sure any customers consider them a deciding factor in choosing a framer.

    Both of the exams include information useful for all levels of framing, and improve a framer's body of knowledge. For example, knowing the differences between "Conservation" mats and "white core" mats - which look identical to most framers - is essential to properly deciding which type to use for decorative framing, as well as for preservation framing.

    I think you have a lot of framing experience. So do I, but I continue to learn more about the methods and materials with which I earn my living.

    "...what do you get out of it that I already dont know...". Well, there's a really good question. Are you sure you know everything you need to know? Would more knowledge help you work faster, build better framing at lower cost, or maybe add new capabilities to your framing business?

    How do you know how much you don't know?

    The cost certainly is not astronomical. I'm pretty sure most framers could recoup the total investment in a year or less, depending on how they use the new information they stuff into their heads.

    An awesome framer? Maybe not. A better framer? Absolutely. Ask anyone who has studied and passed the exams, and they will tell you they learned enough new information to make the investment of time and money worthwhile.

    Nicole, here's all you really need to know about framing credentials:

    1. If you do not see enough benefit to justify the investment of time and money, then you should not get involved.

    2. There are plenty of framers who have gone through your thought process and found good reasons to participate.
  5. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    So, Nic... you go here: http://www.pmai.org/ppfacontent.aspx?id=20263

    Download the trial membership PDF and fill it out. A trial membership is $75 but since they won't actually change their PDF they will just take the $50 if you say "BUT IT SAYS $50 AND HAVE YOU SEEN MY ANKLE!"

    Then you borrow books that would cost you $240 to purchase if you weren't a member. So then you read the books and if you and I can't get $50 worth of value out of reading all those books then we both come back here with a scorched earth policy and tag team the place until we've had $50 worth of fun.

    But if we can find $50 worth of value then we have to say so. Then you can decide, once you have already absorbed the knowledge, if you want to pay hundreds more for the initials or not. I would because not having them is costing me several times the amount of the test per month. But like Jim says my situation is strange. You'll have to decide what it's worth to you.
  6. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    A candidate has to have at least at least five years of hands-on framing experience to be eligible for the MCPF exam. He or she must also be a CPF in good standing and have done at least one recertification class.

    Under the previous rules it was required that a framer would not be able to take the MCPF exam until four years after he or she had passed the CPF exam. The change was made to address the concerns of framers with many years of experience who did not want the long wait.

    So the "short cut" mentioned would come if someone with five or more years experience wanted to go from not certified to MCPF. Take the CPF, pass it, take a recert class, then do the MCPF exam. In theory you could take the CPF, take a recert class next month and then as soon as possible after that do the MCPF.
  7. osgood

    osgood SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    No-one has ever asked me about CPF either. I got my CPF in 1991 and MCPF in 2008. I often briefly explain what was involved in getting those certificates to my customers. Some are impressed, some couldn't give a fig!

    After I got the MCPF, a local magazine did an article on my trip to Las Vegas and my achievement and promoted that I was the first framer in Australia to obtain this certification. Many new customers sought me out after this article appeared.

    I am absolutely certain that some customers come to me because of my certification.

    For me, passing both exams was a positive personal achievement and that in itself would have been enough reason to take them!

    I don't consider the cost of taking the exams expensive. The cost of traveling to Melbourne to take the CPF was expensive. Traveling to Las Vegas to take the MCPF cost many times the cost of the exam but I considered the expense very much worth it.

    Some framers see the positives in certification. Some see only negatives! It's a personal choice.
  8. osgood

    osgood SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Can I suggest that it might be best if the books were studied really well, rather than just reading them? Maybe you guys absorb stuff better than I do and reading might be enough for you?
  9. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Yes you can!

    I've heard the entire spectrum from people who have taken the test, ranging from "You don't need to study" privately all the way to "It was the hardest test I've ever taken." right here in this thread. Generally, people on this board tend to say it's very difficult and people who I talk to privately tend to say it's not so bad.

    So suggestions are kind of meaningless because I've heard the whole range. How could I possibly make anything from that.

    It must be a very different experience for different people.

    Me, I'm a very lousy test taker. Oh joy.
  10. ken

    ken True Grumbler


    Whe I used the term difficult in my last post . I was referring to difficulty in getting study information and going some were to take the test not the test itself being difficult.
  11. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    I have the initials, CPF after my name on my (and my employee's) business cards. There have been many times that after I hand someone my card I am asked, "what is a CPF?" - which starts a conversation about certification, which leads to the fact that my employees are also certified. I believe it adds another level of trust.

    When we bid on large projects from a RFP (request for proposal) there is a section on who is doing the work and why are they qualified. We mention that we run our own shop and that our framers are certified.

    We frame for the major museums in town. Educated art professionals respect a credential that acknowledges benchmarked levels of knowledge.

    I would call this "self marketing" and I do believe it has been beneficial to our business.

    I also have the utmost respect for my fellow framers who have achieved the MCPF and also the GCF.

    I need to reinforce the fact there is IS a scholarship opportunity available for those who feel the cost is prohibitive.

    I will also add that I am happy to proctor any CPF exam and will also provide a test location- so if you want to vacation in beautiful San Diego, all you need to do is combine the test with your vacation :)!
  12. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I'll match Rob's offer to provide a test location...in WV where the weather is ALWAYS worse than it is in San Diego.
  13. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ok so I faxed in my app and payment and when that's taken care of I'll order all the books.

    Here's my thoughts going in:

    A lot of people have told me a lot of different things regarding the purpose and difficulty of the CPF exam. Up until recently and based upon things CPFs have said to me in the past I didn't think much of it.

    Based on that, my opinion is that it should be much tougher, because you're putting the reputation of "the industries only trade organization" behind the accreditation. And after all it's:

    So the bar should be pretty #### high, imo. Especially if the trade organization is going to list these people before the other members.

    I'd say that the MCPF should be part of the CPF, and the MCPF reserved for bigger things. I mean, you're using the word "Master." If you ask me, a master picture framer should be able to make a frame if you give him blocks of wood. Show him a work of art, let him go select the wood and get crackin. The proper style for the time period and work of art and why. The whole 9 yards.

    If I were to tell someone that I was a Master Certified Picture Framer I would expect them to ask something like: "Master! Who did you apprentice under?"

    Bear Charlton? Marty Horowitz? Bron? No I took a test and then had 4 pictures I framed examined.

    I don't want to belittle the Master designation but I think it's a little much. I mean... Master!

    But I haven't gone through the experience.

    If my opinion changes I'll post asap.
  14. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Johnny, I really can't wait to see your take on the exams. I know you will be honest about your experiences. I haven't tried the MCPF yet, but I really was floored by the level of difficulty of that "multiple choice" CPF test.

    I studied for it. I really did. For the better part of a year. If I was going to do it, I was really going to understand it. I did about a book a month. I expected the test to just be a formality. I was really surprised. It took a lot of thought to answer those questions. And I wasn't sure I had answered enough of them correctly when I left the room.

    I went home and looked up as many things as I could remember that I had questions about.

    With a 60% pass rate, that should give anyone pause. I know in some ways there is no comparison because of the level of education, but people pass the bar exam at a higher rate.

    I know some really good framers with many years of experience that did not pass it the first time.
  15. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have my MCPF Certificate framed and hanging next to my MBA.

    People ask and I explain what it is.
    This helps give them confidence that I know what I'm doing.

    You can say it shouldn't, but it does.

    They often ask "was it hard?"

    I point at the two and say of those, the MCPF was harder.

    Truth. Not as drawn out. Over quicker. But, harder.

    With the MBA there was never any doubt. I was going to get it.

    With the MCPF, I had to take a long walk after completing my 90 minute piece to dry off. I had sweat that bad.
    The whole time I took that walk before going back to be evaluated all I could do was think about things I could have done differently.

    Much harder emotionally and practically. But, worth it to me.

    P.S. if some one wants to come to the cold Northeast, I'd be glad to proctor an exam.
  16. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    If anyone is interested, HERE is a list of all current Certified Picture Framers. I haven't counted to see how many there are. By the way, this was added at the request of PPFA members, and non-members too, who wanted to be able to verify CPF status of a potential employee.

    And all current MCPFs.

    Member stores can have the CPF or MCPF on Staff added to their listing in the Find a Framer, but it's up to the store to let the PPFA know and add it. They only keep up with certification, not where a framer is working.
  17. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Well, I'll be dipped. My name is actually on the CPF list. Cool beans. :thumbsup:
  18. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

  19. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Looks like 1,723 on that list.
  20. mike

    mike CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    There are quite a few people in this thread setting themselves up to look bad. There is a trap being set and I advise you to " read between the lines ". Good people play with fire and you get burned. It is interesting how you imagine what others are like by the content of their posts. Jim Miller, you are a true gentleman and very knowledgeable about our industry, you have explained the CPF and MCPF credentials perfectly. Thank You.
  21. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Sorry Johnny... your on your own babe... good luck.

    I apologize... I happen to be pretty vocal at just about everything. I know there are MANY FRAMERS that are NOT CPF's...... which they have their reasons too. It seriously seems like some kind of Frat to join.... and I cant help but rebel against rules and a test that tells me I'm a framer.

    Thanks everyone for all your explinations..... but this is just not for me!
    If that paints me in a BAD LIGHT than so be it.... EVIL is more my speed anyway! :)
  22. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I actually agree with you. I have a problem to solve though. These guys keep saying that if you have criticisms or things you want to change then you have to do it from the inside so ok I'll try. Maybe I'll feel differently about things during the process. You don't have the same problems though and truth be told if the PPFA would just be interested in upholding their own Code of Ethics and certifications I'd happily continue not being involved. But since Dave posted that list I see that two of the 3 people aren't even listed there as CPFs so who knows what's going on in my neck of the woods. I guess that's not a definitive list though.

    Anyone know how long it usually takes to process a membership application?
  23. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Which three people are you talking about? Are you saying that someone is falsely claiming to be a CPF? Or they are and they just aren't listed?
  24. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm saying that of the people that I'm having an issue with three of them say they are CPFs but only one of their names appears on your list. So your list isn't complete, they have different names that they took the test under, or they are fibbing.
  25. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    or maybe they used to be CPF's but let it lapse?
  26. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    If my membership gets approved I'll ask em at the Ohio meeting!
  27. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    That could get interesting!
  28. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    "You don't need to study" might mean "I studied and passed, but I'm sure you know more than I do and will be able to pass the exam easily." Or perhaps, "I want you to think I know everything about framing and didn't have to study, so I can feel superior when you fail."

    "It was the hardest test I've ever taken" might mean "I studied hard to pass the exam and you probably should, too." Or perhaps, "I can probably scare you away from taking the exam."

    Seriously, the CPF exam is quite easy for framers who study and prepare for it. If you really do learn what is recommended by the Study Guide, it's not difficult to correctly answer most of the 150 multiple-choice questions, but only a handful of CPFs might have "aced" the exam in all the years it has been offered. I've heard it has happened, but since the CPF exam has been a pass/fail exam for most of its time, it would be hard to find out how many.

    The passing rate, as mentioned earlier, is about 60% for first-time CPF candidates. That means about 40% of them invest their time and money to take the exam and fail. A popular theory is that some long-experienced framers believe their years of back-room experience have taught them all they need to know to pass the CPF exam, so they do not study seriously, if at all. Trouble is, the CPF exam is heavy on details and subtle distinctions about preservation and other fine-points of framing, which usually do not wander casually into one's body of framing knowledge in any number of years.

    Framers who fail the CPF exam generally have one of these reactions:

    (A) I'm an experienced framer and the CPF exam asked questions I couldn't answer, so it must be worthless and irrelevent; or

    (B) I didn't know as much as I thought I did.

    Some framers who fail the CPF exam go back to the books for serious study, and most of them fare much better when they re-take it.
  29. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You recently described your unfortunate, decades-old memory of how others embarrassed you at a PPFA meeting. Knowing how it feels, are you saying you want to do the same to others? Whether they deserve it or not, is it wise to set them up to receive the same sort of sympathy you did?

    If you really want to get the matters resolved, please ask PPFA to investigate the framers in question and take whatever action is necessary to fix the discrepancies. If the framers are legitimate CPFs, their names would be rightfully added to the roster. Or, if they are 'fibbing' (good word for it) or if their designations have expired, PPFA could take action to stop them from claiming the credentials falsely.
  30. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    No, I wasn't saying I would do what was done to me. I'd ask them privately. The meeting would provide a great opportunity for it. I can see how my comment could be taken your way though.
  31. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The person who will be my study-buddy and will take the exam when I do has actually passed the bar so it'll be interesting to ask her opinion too. There is probably a better chance than not that I fail. But with both of us taking it there is an excellent chance that we'll have a CPF on staff by the time they are graded.

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Could also mean they have low comprehension skills as in they did not full understand the questions or miss read the question.
    Not that they did not actually know the answer.

    Johnny Maybe It would be a good idea to have an oHIo meeting that we can schedule a CPF test. I will bring this up to the rest of the oHIo board members.
  33. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks G. I'll talk to you about it on Oct 24th. There will be 2 of us coming. I'll behave! I think maybe I can use some help because my PPFA membership was approved today. I went through a bunch of stuff to create an Omega account and order those books. And I'm ordering the PPFA books. And then he tells me that the online test is not currently being offered. Ha, jokes on teh Johnny! This being the 4th quarter and all I don't know how I'd have time to study anyway. The online test would probably be working again by the time I'm ready.
  34. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well, ok. No online test for an undetermined amount of time and 1/3 of the study material is not currently obtainable either. I'm not about to start to study not even knowing when I can take the test (not sure about Vegas yet) or obtain all the materials needed to prepare. And the busy season is starting anyway so I won't have tons of time.

    I wish I would have known before I was already $200 in it but it is what it is. So I tried. I'll try again next spring.
  35. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I hope it works out for you as you wish. The typical CPF candidates' routine is to get the books, study until all of the references are solidly understood, and then look for an exam schedule that fits your timetable. You've apparently been working up to this for some decades. Are you in a hurry now?

    Can't you borrow the books from your chapter and get started? If so, you could build your personal library as the books become available. I don't know, but some of the books were probably published by Columba (Vivian K's defunct company), and may be out of print. If that is an issue, then it may be some time before the Certification Board and the Education Committee can qualify new texts that are available. In the meantime, I guess most chapters would have books available from the established Study Guide list.
  36. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Three of the books on the list were either written or published by Vivian Kistler, and I imagine that's why they're not currently available. I know Omega recently purchased the rights to them, but I'd imagine it will take some time before they can get new copies published and out in the marketplace.
  37. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Johnny, which books are you missing? If I have them, I'll sell them to you for half price.
  38. Bandsaw

    Bandsaw MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I took 2 employees to write the CPF exam about 10 years ago. They both failed. On the drive home talking about the exam it became evident the problem was terminology. These 2 framers knew framing well but in our shop we tended to call things by different names and had different terms for techniques. They simply didn't know what some of the questions meant - I rephrased the questions and they had no trouble answering. So I think it's important to study the specific books listed as reference to be sure you know the terms used. One of those framers is still working in my shop after 27 years and is one of the best, most skilled framers I know - but she's not a CPF. I'm glad the exam didn't put her off being a framer.
  39. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks guys. As I said before I'm a horrible test taker, the world's worst. Some people don't like flying in a plane, some don't like being in closed places, I hate tests. So my comfort zone is to own all the study materials, have a nice big stack to get through, do so and then be able to take the test online rather quickly. Once I have the materials retained my brain is a bit like a sieve with the grains of specific test knowledge, terms and definitions and specifics, running through it as I move on to other things.

    My test partner here is my polar opposite. As far as tests go she is perhaps the world's best. She passed the bar just after her 21st birthday, scoring in the 99th percentile even on the national part. The only reason it took her that long was because they have a minimum age requirement. She's the smartest person I've ever met. She's been framing here for several years. She's also my girlfriend and with her strengths and my strengths I think we make a pretty unstoppable team. For what it's worth she thinks I'm taking this way to seriously and wishes I'd stop posting.

    So, yes I am in a hurry because that's the way I am. Decide to take the test... get the stuff, take the test, it's done, move on. From deciding to do it I didn't see a problem with taking it before Thanksgiving and having a CPF on staff for the rest of the holiday season. Of the two of us with our different strengths one would most likely pass.

    There isn't any particular reason for being in such a hurry to do it immediately, other than my little unique competitor issue and having no time for anything other than framing in December. It's how I tend to do things.

    I actually have the Columba books in-hand. Omega stocks and sells them. Smart for them, because they require a full-on account to do so. What it seems to mean for the test is that nobody can buy all the study books from the source now unless they can obtain an Omega account. I was asked to fill out a form with my business name, federal tax ID and state resale numbers, list where I do my banking with account numbers, list my private residence, and 3 trade references. All to buy 3 books. That might present an obstacle to some. For what it's worth I refused to submit the most personal info.

    But I have those books now.

    PPFA is out of stock of the Paschke book, the CCI book, the Preserving Textiles book and Jim's book. It just occurs to me that I can try the PFM online store and I'll do that next.
  40. MaJa

    MaJa SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I am missing CCI Notes and Caring for Your Art. I borrowed the latter, but want to get it for my library.

    If any one has a either they want to sell (or you find it in stock), please let me know!

    Finished reading Preserving Textiles this morning. Think I'm down to 5 books left to read!
  41. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The PPFA online store allowed me to order the Caring for Your Art book yesterday. They had the 4 books I described above marked out of stock but they allowed Caring for your Art to go through and my credit card has already been charged for it so I would expect that it's now in stock.
  42. MaJa

    MaJa SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Great! Thanks!

    Just found this ... anyone know if this is the book?? CCI Notes
  43. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It looks like there are only 17 of them in the Painting section and they aren't terribly long. But $29 is a bit steep for some reprinted PDFs so there has to be more to it, because if that's the case there really isn't a reason for them to be out of stock either. So I would wager that there is more to it than that. Would be great if someone could confirm.
  44. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    It's almost amusing to see people complaining about the cost of books or exams, since they're "just" a few sheets of paper or "just" a bubble-sheet test.

    You know, some of the same people who don't like it when customers complain about the cost of framing, since it's "just" some cardboard and a few pieces of wood.
  45. osgood

    osgood SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Amazon also has "Caring For Your Art".

    It scares me a little when I see people say they are 'reading' the books. Maybe that does really mean 'studying' the books for some.
    Maybe some people can absorb everything they read. I know I can't and would have failed the exam if I had only read the books!
  46. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    PFM had two of them, so as it turns out I only need the CCI notes and Preserving Textiles, which has an issue price of $18 but since it's hard to come by Amazon has 4 copies available for $80 each. Maybe I can borrow those two.
  47. MaJa

    MaJa SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks Ormond, I've been reading the books, anything I was unfamiliar with I talk to AJ about to make sure I've "got it". If I stumble on the info, I re-read it. My plan is to get through the books and then take the practice test. If I feel that I actually know the answers then I will take the test. If not, I will catch it next chance.
  48. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Bppk suggestion

    The last time I ordered something from the PPFA bookstore online, it showed out of stock. When I called to find out when it might be back, they actually had it. If you haven't already, it might be worth the time to call PPFA, particularly if you are having trouble finding a particular title.
  49. hangupsgallery

    hangupsgallery MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I have an extra copy of Jim Miller's "The complete Guide to Shadowboxes and Framing Objects" ($24.95). Would love to move it off the shelf for $15.00 if anyone is interested.
  50. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Worth bumping to the top.
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